Synopsis for 2×13: There’s a reunion, a parting, and a lot of emotional catharsis that’s happening for better or worse. And one brief shot of the infected on the beach…
There are only the barest hints of the infected, or the wasted if that’s what we’re calling them for this show, so if you’ve tuned in for zombie slayings, tune out right now. Instead, we’re faced with the aftermath of Madison’s rash decision-making skills from last episode. Everyone and their brother and their children who saw the electricity have shown up at the gates, including Travis! He’s without Chris and coincidentally, the only one allowed through the gates – which is unbelievable in and of itself that the mob didn’t just riot at that point.
We then flashback to immediately after Chris shot and killed the farmer. Travis takes a moment to center himself before he begins triaging James’ leg. I actually enjoyed a lot of the cinematography of this episode and how certain scenes were shot, but it is a Chris-heavy story this week and I can’t help but roll my eyes through most of it.
After sewing up James, Travis tells the rest of the group that he’ll survive, but they’ll have to stay on the farm until he gets better. He goes on to bury the farmer while the boys kill and eat a chicken – even as Travis notes they should be eating the eggs, not the chicken. He also checks up on James, who is doing his best to put on a brave face.
Travis pulls Chris, covered in chicken grease and drinking a beer, aside to talk to him. It doesn’t really go over well when Travis is upset about recent events and Chris has no remorse, instead leaning on his new “friends.” Chris brings up a middle school incident where Travis told him to try to fit in and insists this is what he’s doing, that they need Brandon’s group to survive.
In the present, Travis is standing on the balcony and declines all of Madison’s offers for food and hygiene. He asks about Nick and she tells him her suspicions of him in Tijuana, while Travis doesn’t offer the same information about Chris when she asks. It’s an interesting swap in their relationship, where she seems relieved to share the burden with Travis once more, but he doesn’t really have an interest in sharing his life the same way anymore.
Still, he tells her about Chris and Brandon’s group. After a week, and eating all of the chickens, Brandon wakes up Travis and James in the barn, telling them it’s time to move – Travis is skeptical, but James seems just as ready and eager to go. They’re still planning to head for San Diego, despite Travis’ protests and Chris’ unwillingness to speak up about what they already know about the place.
After finding out the name of the farmer, Elias, and carving it on his grave marker, Travis helps them put James into the back of the truck, but they don’t make it far. James passes out and they’re ultimately forced to head back to the barn, where the other three contemplate killing James while Travis eavesdrops. Travis argues that they have time for him to heal, but Brandon doesn’t want to. Ultimately, he’s forced to take Chris’ gun and lock himself in the barn with James.
James tells Travis about another boy that was with them once named Troy. He made the group promise to kill him if something happened – and it did – but when it came time to pull the trigger, Brandon couldn’t do it. James ended up doing it and explains to Travis that they think he’s dying, they think he’s dead weight to the group, and that’s what matters.
Chris brings his father a peace offering of food to the barn, but Travis still frisks him and asks where the other two are. Chris tells him they’re down the road and sits down with Travis to have another heart to heart. Chris tells him that he understands what Travis is trying to teach him about people not being disposable. He is fearful of what Brandon might do to him should something happen and Travis comforts him with a hug.
And then Chris wrestles his dad to the ground and shouts for the other two, who kick down the barn door and hold a gun to his head. Travis begs them to let him stay with James and James begs them to show mercy when Brandon shoots him in the head. Travis is left kneeling in the barn.
The boys end up packing up the car and tolerating Travis for some reason. He’s not allowed to go with them according to Brandon, but he only wants to convince Chris to stay with him because he promised Liza he would take care of him. Chris has another absurd and slightly tone-deaf monologue about how he felt broken, but now he’s adapting. He’s better off without his father and as the truck drives off, Travis’ last words to him are, “Goddamn you, Chris!”
Finished with his story, Travis still seems unhappy in the present and distant from Madison. He feels extremely guilty for allowing his son to leave and no amount of comfort from Madison is helping. He admits that he understands now what she did back at the vineyard when Chris threatened Alicia. He believes it, but realizes they’re parents first before their relationship and he should have told Chris he loved him.
Somehow, this regret serves as a catalyst for Madison to immediately leave and run for Alicia. She’s downstairs checking out a woman who promises she wasn’t bitten – because surprise, they had to let 43 people into the hotel who were outside the gates! For some reason, I’m assuming an eventual riot, they had to let the people in.
But Madison doesn’t care about that as she drags Alicia away from triaging to talk to her on the pier. She reveals that Alicia’s father killed himself in that car accident, he didn’t fall asleep at the wheel, leaving a note that said, “I love you all, but enough is enough.” Understandably, Alicia is pretty upset by this bombshell and asks if Nick knew. Madison claims he doesn’t because he’s so much like his father and that’s why she kept it a secret from them all. But you know, she loves Alicia just as much as Nick still.
In the very last scene, more people approach the hotel at night while the gates are still locked. Surprise, it’s Brandon and his friend without Chris! That won’t break Travis even more than he’s already been broken. The sneak peek of next week’s episode looks like the hotel is going to hell thanks to Madison’s beacon.